SAN DIEGO, July 13, 2014 – If you have watched the Tour de France and wondered why riders bother to get involved in breakaway efforts that always get caught anyway, Sunday’s Stage 9 of the 2014 Tour showed why it’s worth it.
German cyclist Tony Martin of Omega Pharma Quickstep blasted out of the peloton, built a significant lead and held onto it for over 100 miles to the finish. The time trial champion won his first ever road stage of the Tour, and the second stage this year for his team.
Martin joked later since Tour organizers schedule only a single time trial in this year’s race, he invented a second one.
“The difference between winning a time trial and a normal stage like today is that I had more time to enjoy it today. With three minutes lead, I knew I had the race in my hand. It was an incredible feeling. In time trials, I often have to wait for a long time to know if I had won or not.
“We were close to the German border and I could hear so many German fans shouting my name on the road sides. It’s been a great day. It’s amazing that after only nine stages, five have been won by Germans but there are two more weeks to go and I hope for the best to come for German cycling. It’s also going really well for our team. We’ve lost Mark Cavendish on day 1 but we never lost the morale. We’ve always remained active in the race and showed how strong we are as a team.”
Following Blel Kadri’s stage win for France on Saturday, Tony Gallopin of Lotto Belisol stayed ahead of the peloton and gained enough time on the stage leaders to take the yellow jersey from Vincenzo Nibali of Astana. It means he will wear yellow on the Bastille Day stage of the Tour on Monday.
Gallopin was greeted with elation by his team at the finish. But perhaps no one was happier than Gallopin’s uncle Alain, who works for Trek bicycles and whose brothers Guy and Joel, Tony’s father, were professional cyclists who rode in the Tour. “French yellow jerseys, there aren’t that many. And a yellow jersey in the Gallopin family it’s even more extraordinary.”
“I’ve made it!” said Gallopin. “When I was a kid, I couldn’t dream of taking the yellow jersey because I was getting dropped at all the races I took part in… Tomorrow I’ll ride in yellow on the occasion of France’s national day. It’s unbelievable. It’s more than formidable. But it won’t be the easiest stage for defending the lead. Favorites will undergo their first real big test and I only have one and half minute lead. I’ll do all I can to keep the jersey. I’d love to have it for more than one day.”
Vincenzo Nibali of Astana is now sitting in second place, 1:34 back of Gallopin which is not a concern to him. The remaining contenders are still well within striking distance. Richie Porte of Team Sky is now fifth, 3:32 back. Alberto Contador of Tinkoff-Saxo is 4:08 back; Rui Costa is 4:26 back.
Americans Tejay van Garderen and Andrew Talansky are hanging on in the top 20; 5:08 and 5:56 back; Chris Horner sits in 24th place, 7:46 back. See the entire classification here.
Peter Sagan retains the green sprinter’s jersey; Michael Kwitkowski wears the best young rider’s white jersey. Martin took the King of the Mountains polka dot jersey for his outstanding effort. He was also named most combative rider.
The Tour gives riders one more brutal stage before the bliss of a rest day on Tuesday. The contenders will race up several wicked climbs including the summit at La Planche des Belles Filles, one of the Tour’s classic finishes. Whoever crosses ahead of his rivals on Monday will take a big step toward winning this year’s Tour; riders who crack can kiss their chances goodbye.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Follow the Tour de France daily in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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